August 18, 2021
To help Maine families afford child care during the COVID-19 pandemic, Governor Mills and DHHS recently allocated $26.3 million in Federal funding to waive co-pays for parents in Maine’s Child Care Subsidy Program (CCSP). This is part of $10 billion in additional funding for the Child Care Development Block Grant (CCDB) that Congress included as part of the Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSA) passed in December 2020, in response to the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on families.
The co-pay waivers went into effect in March 2021, and DHHS is pleased to announce that the parent copay waiver will continue through at least June 2022 for all families on CCSP. Further, for the majority of families, the co-pay waiver will continue through September 2023 with support from American Rescue Plan Act funds, helping working Maine families as they continue to recover from the COVID pandemic.
The DHHS Office of Child and Family Services (OCFS) recently conducted a survey of participating families to measure the impact of the waived co-pays. Parents reported that the fee waivers not only improved the affordability of child care but also allowed them to continue to work or go back to work, explore educational opportunities, and achieve better financial security:
- 93% of parents report their children are in their ideal child care arrangement;
- 74% of parents were able to continue working or return to work and 15% were able to attend or return to school;
- 28% of parents reported paying over $100 per week for child care prior to the fee waiver;
- Parents reported using the money they saved for basic necessities for their families, including rent and mortgage payments, healthy food, and clothing;
- 98% of parents report they are currently working; and
- 68% report being a single-parent household.
The CCSP is available to all Maine families with incomes at or below 85 percent of the State Median Income, or up to $1,473 per week for a family of four. More information about eligibility guidelines and how to apply for the CCSP are available on the OCFS website.